How to Have Unforgettable Conversations

Do you ever get into a brief conversation where you finally figure out what you're going to say next but never end up saying anything? You end up simply listening, nodding your head and agreeing with the other person who's leading the conversation.

It can be annoying.

Maybe the thing you have to say is something about yourself, but you hesitate because you don't know how to share it and don't wanna come across as arrogant or self-absorbed.

Today I want to share a technique that you can use to build rapport with others by opening up about yourself in a genuine way.​

The "Yes and Technique"

A natural and easy way to sprinkle in things about yourself is by using the “Yes and Technique" when someone asks you a question.

  • The "yes" part simply answers the question. In some cases it may be "no" (depending on the question)
  • The "and" part goes into a bit of depth and turns your answer into more of a story

Here are two examples:

Katrina: Do you enjoy red wine?

You: Yes I am [Yes]. And [and...] I actually just went to Napa Valley this summer because I love wine and the winemaking process so much. It was beautiful there, rolling hills, huge estates we had a blast. Are you a red wine fan?

Katrina: Yes, I absolutely love red wine [Yes]. In fact, [and…] most of my Fridays at work are spent dreaming about the bottle I'm going to open that night (Ok, I’d never say that. But it’s true!)

See how both examples turned a “yes or no” question into something way more fascinating by adding a few details?

Using this strategy will make you more memorable.


Because people don't remember if you happened to stumble through a few words or stuttered a bit...what they remember are stories.

By adding a short story you become way more memorable. So use this strategy during your next conversation to build rapport and charisma (or if you're sick of listening to someone talk the whole time).

Stay tuned, in the next post I'll share a conversation strategy to make talking to you feel as good as having sex....seriously. Oh and it will also keep the convo flowing 🙂

For now, go take action and apply this strategy. When you're done, share your results in the comments below!

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How to get your inner-voice to SHUT UP!

Do you constantly hear that voice in your head that second guesses everything you say and do?


It may sound like this:
  • Ugh, did I really just say that?
  • I forget everything that person just said, now what do I say?
  • Why is she looking at me like I’m an alien?

That voice tells you you’re not good enough, it makes you feel like absolutely everyone is judging you (even though they’re not), and it tells you this is just the way you are… Yes, that’s the negative self-talk I’m talking about.

Contrary to what that voice is telling you, it doesn’t have to be “the way you are.”

The reality is that the things we tell ourselves dictates our moods, our outcomes and ultimately…our life.

Today I want to share three ways you can beat negative self-talk so you can start living your best life.

1. Transfer the guilt

Do you ever do something silly or make a mistake and say “Jeez, I’m so stupid”?

You may think this is something really minor, but it’s not. You are creating a generic label for yourself based off of one tiny mistake or comment. Sometimes it’s not even a “mistake” that triggers this, it’s a reaction from someone else or something in your external environment that you’re not consciously aware of.

You are the story you tell yourself.

Next time you make a mistake, try changing your narrative from negative to empowering. So rather than telling yourself you’re dumb, change the narrative to something like “Oops that thing I did was silly, next time I’ll think through it.”

You’ve done two things here:

  • First you are removing your SELF from the equation. You did something that was a silly mistake rather than equating the mistake to mean you’re dumb
  • The second thing you are doing is deciding how you will take action if that happens again. You have gone from making yourself a victim of “dumbness” to empowering yourself

2. Use mental habits to gain control

Do you close the bathroom door even when you’re home alone? How much mental power does it take for you to brush your teeth as soon as you get up? Not much right? That’s the power of habit.

In the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he discusses the habit loop which consists of the cue, routine, and reward.

Start identifying the cues that make you think negatively about yourself. Is it when you make a minor mistake? Is it when you first sit down behind your desk at work when you don’t want to be there?

Identify these cues and note them down. The next time you’re “cued” become aware of it and actively change the routine of negative self-talk.

Once you identify that cue, you can change the routine. Rather than allowing your negative self-talk to kick in commit to a “plan B.” It may be that you leave the office for a 5 minute walk or pick up the phone and call a loved one. Remember, changing habits is all about trial and error.
Neuroscience has shown that you can program the brain to make automatic habits. Habits take anywhere from 2- 4 weeks to solidify so start taking action today.


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The Secret to Charisma

Let me tell you a story about "Charismatic Casondra."

Strangers, my family members, and mutual friends tell my BFF Casondra everything.

Here’s how a typical conversation between me and Casondra goes:

Casondra: “Hey did you know Jackie is going through a nasty divorce?” or “Did you know your brother is dating a new girl?"

Me: “Umm. No I had no clue. That person hasn’t told me a word about any of that! Are you for real?!"

I won’t bore you with the rest of the gossipy details, but suffice to say that people weirdly and inherently just trust Casondra and she gets to know people on a very deep level. Even strangers!

The point is Casondra is charismatic. You know those people who are so damn charismatic that it almost bothers you to see them socialize? People love them, confide in them, and they always seem to get ahead in life.

While they're getting ahead, you're sitting there thinking "how the hell did they pull that off when they're not as smart/nice/good as I am?"

Well you don't have to wonder anymore. The deal is charisma is a skill that can be learned, adjusted and practiced. Scientific research has proven this time and time again.

So much so, that in a controlled lab experiment researchers can increase or decrease people’s charisma ratings based on telling them to do certain things. Crazy right!?

Here's the #1 way to instantly become more charismatic: be present.

See when you talk to Casondra, you feel like you’re the only person in the room. She listens attentively, she’d never look away, she’ll ask about you to make you feel important and you’ll feel like you’re sharing the same exact moment in time.

You may feel this way when you’re talking to a charismatic person perhaps a friend, your boss/CEO, or a time you’ve met a famous person. You may describe these people as having a "presence."

You can start cultivating this skill too.

Here’s how to get started:

Next time you have a conversation, rather than letting your mind run around about how the other person is judging you or what you’re going to make for dinner, focus on the conversation at hand.

Observe your own mind the next time you’re in a conversation and figure out if your mind was wandering or if you were listening attentively.

Catch yourself.

If your mind was wandering, draw your mind back to the conversation at hand. Focus on the words the other person is saying, listen to your breathing, take in the moment and hold the mental chatter.

Do this during your next conversation, regardless of who it is with. Take a mental pause and check-in to make sure you’re “in the moment.”

You may be thinking okay, this is some new age non-sense.

It's not. See, being present is an internal tool that directly affects your external body language and behavior. Your external behavior is how people perceive whether or not you're charismatic. That's why this skill is important.

So give it a shot and share your results in the comments below.

I know this isn't easy. That's why in the next post we will cover ways to shut your “mental chatter" up and transform negative self-talk. It will make being present much easier. For now, get started on observing your mind. Next, we’ll work on changing it.

Do you have someone in your life who is super charismatic? What's the #1 thing you notice about how they act? Comment below!

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Case Study: How Tatum went from Socially Anxious to Rocking the Sh** out of Conversations

Imagine struggling with social anxiety and awkwardness on a personal level, while being an entrepreneur who has to pitch yourself and your business for a living.

Now imagine that within a few weeks you transformed your social skills and perspective, so much so that you could "rock the shit out of conversations."  

That's exactly what Tatum, a former student, and self-described introvert in her mid-20's faced. Today I want to share her story.

Tatum knew that she had to improve her social skills...

I need a lot of help with improving my social skills to pitch myself and my company. It’s nerve wracking and it gives me anxiety attacks when I try to do it. 

I also want to improve my conversations and communication with people in my everyday life."

Tatum struggled to be her true self in conversations without making other people feel uncomfortable.

Continue Reading

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Why Feeling Left Out Leads to Eating Chocolate Chip Cookies

Socializing has such a huge impact on our lives. There are the obvious ones like:

  • Feeling connected and in “in groups” helps stave off depression, sickness and increasing our life spans
  • Being connected to important and exclusive information can help us when it comes to improving our careers, business and career advancement
  • Being comfortable socializing helps us make new friends, romantic connections and build a social circle of people who support and love us

But there are also the less obvious ones like:

  • How feeling left out can lower your self-control
  • How feeling left out can lower your willpower and lead to eating more
  • How feeling left out can make you less likely to help others
  • How socializing can affect your willpower

In a guest post I published for Willpowered, I shared 8 tips that you must know before your next social event.

Click here to learn the 8 willpower tips you must know before your next social event.


I’ll share:

  • How to pay more attention in conversations you’re having
  • How to appear more charismatic to people you just met
  • How to boost your confidence instantly
  • How to excuse yourself from conversations you don’t like
  • The link between feeling left out and gorging on chocolate chip cookies

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Ben Franklin’s Best Social Skill Hacks (and how to do them)

It always helps to learn from the best. If you want to achieve something spectacular, wouldn’t you want to emulate the best? Enter Ben Franklin, one of the most influential men in history.

Ben Franklin Meme

Ben Franklin was a “G” in his day. He was an entrepreneur, inventor, businessman, politician, and his adept social skills helped America gain independence from the British.

Today I want to share three social skill hacks that Ben Franklin used to go from a poor family of 17 kids to one of the most legendary Renaissance men that ever lived.

1. Ben Franklin worked on being likable

Ben Franklin was known for his social prowess. He knew how to make friends out of enemies and like any great politician, how to persuade people to his side of an argument. But this didn’t come naturally to him, it was something he systematically worked on.

In his autobiography, Franklin shares that a friend of his gave him some invaluable feedback. His friend basically told him he was cocky, “overbearing” and “insolent” were the exact words. Did Ben get defensive?

Not one bit. Instead, he iterated and improved.

Ben Franklin was your modern-day productivity nut. He came up with 12 virtues that he wanted to live by and practiced them weekly, he kept a journal to track each virtue he was working on along with any actions that were not in accordance.  It was upon this feedback that Franklin added a thirteenth virtue, humility.

One of the ways he worked on his humility was by changing his everyday language.

He said, “I even forbid myself…the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly…and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend it, I imagine a thing to be so…”

He realized that people don’t like getting interrupted, proven wrong, or talked down to so he made the necessary adjustments and it paid off.  His conversations became more pleasant, he found it easier to persuade people and he even mentions that it made up for his lack of public speaking skills.

Another helpful nugget we can take away from Ben Franklin is the Ben Franklin Effect. Franklin had a nemesis, a politician that tried to tarnish his image publicly. Rather than taking revenge, Franklin used a counter-intuitive approach. He simply asked this man for a favor. He was a pretty influential person in the community, someone Franklin knew would be beneficial to be on good terms with. He possessed a rare book that Franklin wanted to borrow, so he simply asked him for it.

The enemy obliged and lent the book to Franklin. After reading the book Franklin promptly returned it with a “thank you” note. Immediately following this transaction, the man approached Franklin for the first time ever, they spoke and became friends for a lifetime!

Franklin understood the psychological phenomena that humans have, we like to act in accordance with our beliefs. Franklin was able to take advantage of this and created cognitive dissonance for his nemesis. The rival had to rationalize his behavior of lending the book against his opinion of not liking him. He had to “believe” that Franklin was likable enough to share the book with. You wouldn’t lend a book to someone you don’t like right? After convincing himself that Franklin must be a good enough guy, they became fast friends.


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The “Dirty Little Secret” to Social Skills

Wondering what the “dirty” little secret to improving your social skills is?

It’s kind of strange, but I think I’ve figured it out. It’s improving what’s in your mind. See, what you think in your mind shows in your verbal and non-verbal cues when you’re communicating.

Think about it. Have you ever had a really crappy day at work? You finally get home and your roommate innocently asks you a simple question. Instead of answering them like a normal human being…you SNAP! You answer their question in a raised voice, making them feel silly for even asking how your day was.

How rude! (as they used to say on my fav TV show Full House). Oops, I just dated myself…

Anyways, why did you act this way? Your stressful day at work primed your brain into a frenzy. Since you didn’t mentally reset before you came home you brought that baggage with you.

You probably didn’t have the time to internalize any presence or positivity during your busy day so you ended up snapping even though your roommate did nothing wrong.

This is why I focus on tackling your inner-psychology before getting into the tactics of communication. What good does it do if you know how to start a conversation but people perceive you to be angry or standoffish? They won’t even want to talk to you in the first place!

This is where the power of the mind comes in. Today I want to share 3 Zen Principles that you can immediately use to gain some mental clarity every single day.


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Are you Infuriating my Single Girlfriends? 4 Texting Tips Every Guy Should Know

Are you one of those guys that my single girlfriends hate texting with? (Note: If you’re female you’ll still like this and will also benefit from the tips)

Let me tell you a story that I’ve heard many times over from single people trying to date.

A girlfriend of mine Kelly, meets a guy named Greg on an online dating site, they both “like” each other, message a bit and finally exchange numbers.

What happens next?

The same exact thing that just happened through the dating site, more messaging.

Texts, texts and more texts. Instead of getting to the point, this messaging exchange lasts days. They are talking about everything under the sun, except the most important thing… dating!

Greg thinks things are going well as the banter continues, but here’s what Kelly is really thinking:

  • Why are we bantering about non-sense? Get to the point! We can talk about all this stuff….over a date. (I totally agree)
  • Well I met him on a dating site so he probably has dates lined up all week with other girls. (mmmm, probably not)
  • He’s not serious about dating or getting into a relationship. (not necessarily)
  • What a loser. If he can’t ask me out, I don’t want to waste my time texting. (partially right. The sad part is he may be a really great guy, but she’ll never know).

While you may think that asking questions about how their day was or what they’re up to this weekend without inviting them to do anything is innocent, you’re actually frustrating the heck out of the other person!

Now let’s be clear, this is something both males and females get wrong and either of the sexes can step up to the plate and initiate a date.

For those of you who struggle with turning dialogue into dates and find that offline or online “matches” just fizzle by the wayside, I want to offer a few texting tips you can use to increase the odds of a response and a date!

Tip #1: Stop being lazy and stand out

Perhaps you don’t put in a lot of thought or energy into how you communicate. This could be because you’re unsure of how to communicate, you don’t have a lot of dating experience or you just don’t think it’s important.

Please don’t take the easy way out. Of course it’s easy to start a text conversation by saying “hey” and then waiting for a response. But is that really the way you want to portray yourself?

Of course not! The way you communicate is important, when you’re texting the words you use are the only chance you have to show who you are and it makes a huge difference in the way you’re perceived.

When you’re texting, the only mode of communication you really have are your words so choose them wisely. It’s easy to say “hey wassup” or if they ask how you’re doing you may say “fine, u?”

But what do people who stand out do?

They use language that elicits emotions.

The other day I hopped in an Uber. I asked the driver how he was doing and he emphatically said “Glorious!” that got a smile out of me even though I was in a hurry to get to work.

Using colorful language is a great way to stand out and also show that you’re putting some effort into the exchange. Compare these two text invitations for a date on Saturday night:

“Hey Kelly, wanna grab dinner tomorrow at this great Thai restaurant?”


“Hi Kelly! Wanna grab dinner at this amazing Thai restaurant tomorrow? Their food is superb, I know you like spicy and their food will knock your socks off.”

Do you see how the second text used fun words like “amazing” and “superb” along with a metaphor “the spice will knock your socks off” that gave it some color?

The second text brings some imagination and fun into an otherwise boring conversation and increases your odds of a response. So don’t be lazy, the next few tips will help you come up with texts that are thoughtful and interesting.


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How to Invite People to Hang Out (and get them to say “yes”)

Do you struggle to do things that interest you, with people that interest you?

Everyone wants to do fun stuff with people that they like, it’s part of human nature. The social connections in our life turn the monotonous into spontaneous and memorable!

Think about how someone at school who you grew close with improved your experience there. How about those times you watched a movie with a friend and had a fascinating conversation about it afterwards?

Having multiple, meaningful relationships is the true spice of life. Social connections help us feel included and appreciated. It’s part of our human evolution.

Our ancestors relied upon being part of the “pack” in order to get access to food and shelter, being ostracized from the group meant death. In fact when we are ostracized, our brain triggers the same part of our brain that goes off when we feel physical pain.

This feeling is so strong that in a controlled experiment of a multi-player game, the subjects were found to prefer to be “included” rather than excluded, even if it meant losing money! So regardless of if they won or lost money, they always defaulted to wanting to be included even though it didn’t make economic sense.

Now at this point in society, we won’t physically die if we’re not part of the pack, but think about how it makes you feel mentally and psychologically.

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you may want to stick with me here:
  • How can I establish deeper relationships with people?
  • I don’t wanna talk to people just for the sake of “small talk.” What’s next? 
  • I want to build a social circle to do fun things with, where do I start?
  • I don’t go out because no one ever invites me to do anything. What do I do?

Today I’m going to answer these questions, share a word-for-word script, and principles that will help you do the things you want to do, with people you want to do them with.

Trust me this stuff works. I used these same principles to make friends in a brand new city I moved to where I didn’t know anyone. I built such strong friendships that a few of these folks who I only knew for a few months even came to my wedding!

I know I want to build my social circle, but where do I start?

The answer is simple, you have to start cultivating relationships.

It sounds cheesy, but relationships are like trees. You have to plant them, care for them and maintain them. If you do, the “fruits” of your labor will translate into having people to hang out with on weekends, share experiences with, and form a group of people in your life who you can turn to when you need support.

It all starts with getting to know people on a deeper level, and you do this by hanging out with them. The reason why this works is because you both commit your time and energy to each other and it naturally builds a meaningful relationship.

Think about it this way: Have you ever had an experience of befriending a coworker? You may have started as acquaintances at work…but when you hung out outside of that environment, it took your friendship to the next level. Didn’t that relationship evolve way faster compared to coworkers who you didn’t hang out with outside of the office?

It did for me. Some of the greatest friends in my life have been people I met through work years ago and hung out with outside of those confines.

The reason why those friendships remained strong even after we all moved companies was simple: we did stuff together. We’d hang out on weekends, grab drinks after work, and celebrate birthdays. We had a shared history that created a bond we didn’t want to lose.

See humans are hard-wired to avoid losses. In fact, people would rather not lose something, than gain something. It’s called loss aversion and it also applies to relationships.

You can build relationships worth keeping too.

Remember it’s not other people’s jobs to decide that you’re “good enough” to hang out with, it’s up to you to decide who you want to hang out with.

So how do I take the first step?

In the last post we talked about some basic principles you can use when inviting someone out. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it in person or via email, phone, etc. the principles hold true.

In general, people want to hang out with other fun people (be cheerful), they don’t want to think a lot (give them some choices on days/times/venues and keep it casual), and they don’t want to hang out with desperate people who feel sorry for themselves.

Let’s jump into a word-for-word script you can use:

Hey X,

Hope you’re doing well! [Reason] I’m gonna be in your neighborhood on [proposing a day and time] Friday afternoon around 2pm.

I wanted to see if you had some time to [keep it casual] grab some coffee and catch up at the [easy and casual venue] closest Starbucks to you. [cheerful + reason] Just wanted to say hi and see what you’re up to these days! 

[not desperate] If you’re busy Friday, no biggie,  just let me know a few days that work well for you in the next 2 weeks so we can set something up.

Have a great day!


Why does this work?

The short answer is that it makes it easy for the other person to say “yes.” But in “Social Tiger Mom” style, let’s dive deeper:

1. Reason- you’re giving them a reason to hang, whether it’s good or not doesn’t matter. People value their time so you want to let them know the value they’ll be getting in exchange for it. Maybe there’s a band you know they like that’s having a concert or in this example you just wanted to catch up

2. Propose some days/times- in this example I only gave one choice, but you can give 1-3 choices of days or times. Don’t give them too many options, when people face many choices they get overwhelmed. This is called the paradox of choice. You also remove the cognitive load of them having to come up with a few days/times. If you want to invite someone to a specific event (like a concert) that’ll make this part even easier.

3. Keep it casual– you want to keep the barriers low, so don’t invite them to a VIP club where neither of you aren’t guaranteed to get in. If you have an exclusive invite to a party or venue, that’s awesome…leverage it! But if it’s a general meet up, coffee, drinks or a meal will do

4. Easy venue- if you’re not picky on venue you can propose one or let them decide one that works well for them. Most people have “go-to” places in their neighborhood so it will be a bit easier for them to decide that piece. Otherwise, pick something centrally located to both parties

5. Cheerful- notice how the tone of the note is upbeat and not desperate. At the end I give them an quasi “out” if they can’t make it. People don’t want to hang out with a sour puss and they also don’t want to feel bad if they can’t make it

Take action

Now it’s time to start asking people to hang out.

Want an eBook that shows you how to AVOID awkward conversations once you hang out?


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Does my 91 year-old Grandma have a better social life than you?

I recently came back from an amazing trip in the Philippine islands and Bali.

The purpose of the trip was to visit my 91 year-old Grandmother (aka “Lola”) in Manila, but we couldn’t resist hitting a few more locations after a 16 hour flight.

We dragged Lola everywhere with us…and she kept up! Here she is killin’ a bowl of ice cream, isn’t she adorable?

Lola eating ice cream

I was stunned at her stamina given the many boat rides, bumpy roads, temples and islands we visited. When we finally had a respite at her home in Manila I asked her how she kept up. She said she was just having fun but felt “out of her routine.”

She was right, we totally switched things up on her. We had taken over her home, went out to eat constantly and took her to explore Asia with us!

My first thought was, “Alright Lola, calm down. What routine? You’re 91 years-old! Don’t you just sit at home and watch soap operas?”


Well, clearly I was wrong when I learned that she has a pretty busy social calendar:
  • Bible study group every Tuesday night
  • Church all afternoon every Sunday
  • Weekly visits to the theater and Shangri-La hotel to watch a small orchestra play

Well here’s what’s interesting…. I dug deeper and asked my Lola about the importance of all these social events.



Turns out that my Lola actually credits her memory, upbeat attitude and stamina to staying socially active. She makes it a point to keep up with her personal connections like family, friends and neighbors especially after my Grandfather passed away. She says that it helps “keep her going.”


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